A critical view of current ideas of abiogenesis

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Robert Shapiro writes in scientific american about the Miller-Urey chemistry that is supposed to be able to form life:

By extrapolation of these results, some writers have presumed that all of life's building could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites and other extraterrestrial bodies. This is not the case. A careful examination of the results of the analysis of several meteorites led the scientists who conducted the work to a different conclusion: inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus shows no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life.
He also assaults the RNA-first idea:
They also used the term “the prebiotic chemist’s nightmare” to describe another part of the picture: How did that first self-replicating RNA arise? Enormous obstacles block Gilbert’s picture of the origin of life, sufficient to provoke another Nobelist, Christian De Duve of Rockefeller University, to ask rhetorically, “Did God make RNA?”

The chances for the spontaneous assembly of a replicator in the pool I described above can be compared to those of the gorilla composing, in English, a coherent recipe for the preparation of chili con carne. With similar considerations in mind Gerald F. Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute and Leslie Orgel of the Salk Institute concluded that the spontaneous appearance of RNA chains on the lifeless Earth “would have been a near miracle.” I would extend this conclusion to all of the proposed RNA substitutes that I mentioned above.

...

Nobel Laureate Christian de Duve has called for “a rejection of improbabilities so incommensurably high that they can only be called miracles, phenomena that fall outside the scope of scientific inquiry.” DNA, RNA, proteins and other elaborate large molecules must then be set aside as participants in the origin of life. Inanimate nature provides us with a variety of mixtures of small molecules, whose behavior is governed by scientific laws, rather than by human intervention.
Here he gives a golf-analogy:

The analogy that comes to mind is that of a golfer, who having played a golf ball through an 18-hole course, then assumed that the ball could also play itself around the course in his absence. He had demonstrated the possibility of the event; it was only necessary to presume that some combination of natural forces (earthquakes, winds, tornadoes and floods, for example) could produce the same result, given enough time. No physical law need be broken for spontaneous RNA formation to happen, but the chances against it are so immense, that the suggestion implies that the non-living world had an innate desire to generate RNA. The majority of origin-of-life scientists who still support the RNA-first theory either accept this concept (implicitly, if not explicitly) or feel that the immensely unfavorable odds were simply overcome by good luck.
He also mentions which ideas he thinks are more plausible.
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanId=sa003&articleId=B7AABF35-E7F2-99DF-309B8CEF02B5C4D7
 
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siddharth
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James Shapiro writes in scientific american about the Miller-Urey chemistry that is supposed to be able to form life:
From your link, the article was published by Robert Shapiro, professor in the Department of Chemistry at New York University.
 
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Yes my mistake, james shapiro is another scientist.
 

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